Tuesday, July 12, 2011 , , , 0 Comments

Kingman State Fishing Lake: 144 acres, max depth 11 feet, and the only place in Kansas you can chase after teethy Northern Pike. As an angler who initially got his feet wet and became addicted to fishing in Minnesota, my natural inclinations have always been towards Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Walleye, and Smallmouth Bass. Now transplanted to Kansas I primarily fish for Largemouth Bass, Wiper and the sort but my heart will always truly be taken by Esox. 

Therefore I woke up at 3:30 Friday morning and drove over three hours to Kingman, just west of Wichita. I have read good things about Kingman and seen pictures of 13 and 19 lb Pike that were taken from there so needless to say when I finally got on the water just after 7 I was very excited. Well to my disappointment when I took the water temp it was 81*. Far too warm for Northern Pike. Second obstacle was going to be the lake itself. Visibility was near zero, very muddy and the lake was obviously down a few feet. This threw out my initial plan, to find a weed line on a point adjacent deeper water and concentrate my efforts there. The problem was there was no deeper water, and weeds were everywhere. The result of 9 hours: 2 follows from Pike on both a fly rod and conventional tackle and one 4 lb Largemouth. The Largemouth was a nice way to avoid being skunked but regardless I would have preferred a Pike. Let the water cool down, give it some fall rain and let the lake rise a bit and I will be back to Kingman soon I hope. This time hopefully successful. 

Sun rising over the Prairie. 

 Kingman Lake.

Fishing Conditions. Spent a lot of time removing weeds. My Paddle could touch bottom wherever I was in the lake. While there were lots of lilypads, what you don't see is the Milfoil under the water's surface that has overtaken the entire lake. I think someone needs to drop in a few Grass Carp.... 

Only fish of the day 4 lb Largemouth, "The Egg" Crankbait. 

Any other day I would have been happy to catch this fish, but not that day. 


One Fly Tournament

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 , 0 Comments

The Free State Fly Fishing Club hosted its annual One Fly Tournament late last month. The rules were you were only allowed to use one fly, if you lost that fly you had to stop counting. Person with the most fish after 1 hour and 15 minutes would win. There were two categories a float group and a wading group. No motorized boats or non-fly tackle. Most of the people had never fished the lake, which was a small private lake just north of Perry. Seventeen people participated, 12 in the float group and 5 in the wading group.I took my kayak, six weight fly rod and tied up a variation of a crappie candy as my fly of choice. In order to help prevent a premature break-off I used a fluorocarbon leader with no tippet. I  anchored in a corner of the lake where I could access the weed line on three sides and started casting when the time began. To my surprise an hour later I had landed 44 Largemouth Bass! I won the float group and overall was the winner of the entire tournament. First tournament I have ever entered and I won. I was pretty excited. 

Here are the overall results: 

Float Group 1st} Bryan Dale 44 
                    2nd} Mike Hough and Keith Romero 31
                    3rd} Mike Zimmerman 27 

Wade Group 1st} Mike Hudson 36
                    2nd} Sheryl Beier 29
                    3rd} Bret Reimer 17

View of the corner of the lake I decided to anchor in. 

Sign In. The fee was $10 for the tournament with all proceeds going to the Red Cross to help tornado victims in Joplin. 

Club Members getting ready upon arrival. 

The Winning Fly, 44 Largemouth Bass later. Though it is a variation of a Crappie Candy, I need to think of a name for this fly. The coloration, size,  and added hackle make it a much different fly. 


New Boat

Monday, July 11, 2011 0 Comments

I recently purchased a used Native Ultimate 14.5 Tandem Fishing Kayak. I love it! Finally I have the freedom to fish where I want to rather than being relegated to the shoreline. I is very stable, you can even stand in it and has plenty of storage, well for a Kayak! It is 14' 8 " long and weighs about 80 lbs, but I can still load and unload it easily from my SUV by myself. Even when not fishing it has been such a joy and a good workout to take it to area lakes and just paddle around. I cannot emphasize how happy and impressed I am with it. I foresee much better fishing and recreation in the future.

Loaded up and ready to fish the One Fly Tournament.

Paddling at Douglas County Lake for fun! 

Secures easily to my top rack.

At nearly 15' it dwarfs my car by a bit!


Rockin' Milford with Captain Sodamann

Monday, July 11, 2011 , , , , 0 Comments

June 11th, Bret and I went to Milford to fly fish with Captain Sodamann, "Sodie", for carp. It was a huge lake, over 16,000 acres and the water was up several feet which made Carp fishing difficult. Neither Bret, nor I had ever fished for Carp previously and conditions were difficult with many of the fish tucked away deep into brush. However, it was trial by fire and Bret landed a nice 4 lb Carp and I hooked into my first Shortnose Gar. We learned a ton about Carp fishing, received excellent casting advice from Captain Sodamann, and overall had a great time. Thank you Bret for the excellent Birthday gift. 

Captain Sodamann is a retired school teacher who spends his time between Kansas chasing Carp and the Caribbean fishing for Bonefish and other flats saltwater fare. He has found Carp to be excellent practice and stylistically very similar to fishing saltwater flats. In both cases he uses a flats boat, which he pushes while standing on an observation deck looking for fish, while Bret and I took turns casting to the fish. Here is his website for more information:

Carp are treated with much disrespect by anglers in this country. Often seen as a rough fish with little to no sporting value. However, I can attest that they are spookish, difficult fish to catch. They reach large proportions and the style of sight fishing for them is much different then the typical patterning, structure oriented blind fishing most commonly associated with angling. It seems more akin to stalking/hunting than fishing and I can now see how it could become addictive. Though I didn't catch a Carp, it was some of the most technical fishing I have ever attempted and I had a blast! I hope to take what I learned and catch a Carp later this year. It is definitely a style of fishing I could get used to. So don't ride off Carp as a useless biomass. Try fishing for them and you too may end up addicted. 

I hope to return soon. As most anglers I saw were fishing for Walleye and I have yet to really hook into some nice "eyes" this year. I will have to get my father down soon. That said, here are the pictures of the trip:

Attempting to cast to a cruising Carp.

Milford was quite scenic. 

At first we thought Bret may have spooked the Carp, but it after a brief dash away it turned back around and took his fly.

I think Bret is excited!

Bret's first Carp. 4lb on a Pine Squirrel Leech. 

Casting lessons from Sodie.

Shortnose Gar I landed. Pine Squirrel Leech. 

We had an unexpected visitor in the boat. Baby Copperhead, I carefully coaxed our venomous friend from the boat!

Bret trying his hand at pushing the flats boat, it was tougher than it looks.

After Milford we went back to Sodamann's house just outside Manhattan for some homemade brew and fishing in his private pond.

Sodie's Pond by his home.

Bluegill Bret pulled out of the pond.

Sodamann is quite the renaissance man. Grow's his own hops and other vegetables/fruits for his beer and enjoyment. 

End of a great day, we would love to fish with him again. 

Bret and Captain Sodamann.

View of the Flint Hills in between Lawrence and Milford. Spectacular.